As Democrats and Republicans resume talks on a second coronavirus relief bill, many Americans are left in the lurch as enhanced unemployment benefits lapsed last Friday.
And some say they still haven't received a relief payment from the first relief package, which the House and Senate quickly passed back in March.
If you believe you're eligible for a relief payment but still haven't received anything, ask yourself the following questions and take the necessary steps — and, if all else fails, contact the IRS.
Am I eligible for a coronavirus relief payment?
To be eligible for a payment, you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien who has a Social Security number and is not dependent on another taxpayer.
Individuals with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 are eligible for a payment of $1,200, and couples with an adjusted gross income of up to $150,000 are eligible for a payment of $2,400. Qualifying families with children under 17 will also receive an additional $500 per child.
For those with an adjusted gross income that exceeds these amounts, the payment will be reduced by 5% accordingly. But, if an individual’s adjusted gross income is more than $99,000 or a couple’s adjusted gross income exceeds $198,000 with no children, they are not eligible for a payment.
Did you file your 2018 and 2019 taxes?
People who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 should receive payments automatically.
The Internal Revenue Service is using information from 2019 tax returns to calculate payment amounts. If you have not filed for 2019 but filed for 2018, the IRS will calculate payments using the information on the 2018 tax return.
Individuals who are not required to file tax returns may also be eligible for payments in some cases.
Have you checked the IRS' Get My Payment tool?
The Get My Payment tool allows people to see the status of their payment. By checking this page, you will see one of three updates about your payment:
- Payment Status: This means a payment has been processed, a payment will arrive by direct deposit or mail and a payment date is available. It could also mean that you are eligible for a payment, but it has not been processed and there is no date available.
- Need More Information: This means you are likely eligible for a payment, but the IRS does not have your direct deposit information. If you can verify your identity, you will be able to input your information.
- Payment Status Not Available: If you see this status, it means the IRS is currently unable to determine whether you are eligible for a payment.
If you can view your payment status, pay attention to whether it will arrive via direct deposit or by mail. Payments can take up to 14 days to arrive by mail, and some are being sent in the form of prepaid debit cards instead of checks. If it takes longer than two weeks, the post office may have been unable to deliver it, and the IRS will receive your payment back and change your status to “Need More Information.”
The Get My Payment data is updated once per day.
Are your address and banking information up to date?
The IRS needs a current address or accurate bank account information to send you a payment.
If your status reads “Need More Information” on the Get My Payment page, you should be able to update your bank account information if you can verify your identity.
If you are living at a different address than the one stated on your tax returns, you can alert the IRS to this change by filling out a form, mailing a written statement, calling the IRS directly or telling them in person.
Did you throw away your prepaid debit card?
Nearly 4 million Americans are supposed to receive their stimulus payments in the form of a prepaid debit card instead of a check. The cards are sent through the mail and arrive in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services."
If you think you might have accidentally thrown away your debit card, you can request a free replacement by calling 800-240-8100 and pressing option two from the main menu.
Was your payment offset by past-due child support?
The IRS can use your payment to pay off the past-due child support you owe. If this occurs, you should be notified by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service.
Were you a victim of fraud?
The IRS will not contact you by phone, text, email or social media, so be wary of messages asking you for personal information.
You should receive a letter from the IRS confirming your payment. If you received this letter but still have not gotten your payment, you can call 800-919-9853, which is located at the bottom of the letter, and request a payment trace.
The IRS recommends requesting a payment trace if you have not received your payment after more than five days since the scheduled deposit date or four weeks since it was mailed to a standard address. It usually takes around six weeks to process a payment trace, and if your payment was truly stolen or lost, the IRS will either issue a replacement check or send a copy of your cashed check in a claim package. Follow the instructions on the claim package, and the IRS will determine if they can send you a replacement.
If all else fails, call the IRS.
If you have checked all of these possibilities and still haven't received your payment, call the IRS help number at 800-829-1040. The IRS has limited staffing and you may be subject to long waiting periods, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time.